When someone is getting married, we shower them with gifts. There’s a bachelorette party and a bridal shower and then the actual wedding gift. If you’re in the wedding party, you could easily spend $2,000 when all is said and done.
When someone is having a baby, you shower them with gifts again. You’re buying $200 wipe warmers and expensive little onesies that the infant will promptly puke on.
You’re thrilled for your friends and want to celebrate their major life milestones, so these expenses are okay. But here’s the issue: if you haven’t yet found a life partner or decided to have a baby, it’s like society as a whole doesn’t think you count yet. You’re still at the kids’ table of life, even if you’re doing important and amazing things on your own.
Sure, I suppose you could throw your own party to celebrate yourself, and you should! But can you imagine registering yourself at Bed Bath & Beyond because you got a promotion at work or decided to move to a new city because you needed a change of scenery? Your friends and family would wonder if you were having some sort of psychotic break. In reality, singles deserve celebrations and showers just as much as newlyweds and parents-to-be. In fact, I might argue that we deserve more encouragement, because single life can be HARD.
The other day my friend called me hysterical because she had seen a roach while she was taking a shower. Southern roaches legitimately look like something out of Jurassic Park. They don’t die and they’re fast as hell. They’re next-level awful, and the hysteria was certainly warranted.
“How did you kill it?” I asked, mostly because I’m always trying to learn new methods of roach murder.
“Oh, well my boyfriend was home, so I just screamed for him.”
If that were me, I would be in the nude, scrambling to find Raid, crying, and hoping to get the kill shot before the monstrosity disappeared into some tiny crack or crevice.
I would get no type of reward for the bravery I had shown. There is no “You Face Your Biggest Fear on the Regular With No Help From Anyone Else” party. You don’t get a registry where you sign up for Raid and extra paper towels so you don’t have to touch the roach with your bare hands. You just suck it up and do it, because you’re an adult and you have to.
A while back I was seeing a guy I thought I liked. I knew our relationship wasn’t exactly “If you’re a bird, I’m a bird” level, but I had hopes that it would grow into something more normal. One day, after several months of on-and-off dating, he told me he liked my “rambling, weird stories” but preferred that I listen to his instead. I told myself I had just misinterpreted his comment. Later on, it became clear he didn’t know how to pronounce my last name properly. He hadn’t bothered to retain this information. Needless to say, we stopped seeing each other shortly after.
This was an important experience: learning how to tell the difference between liking the idea of someone (or mostly liking their face, I suppose) and actually liking them. I had learned that a relationship can be fun but not functional. Yet there was no ceremony where I wore a beautiful dress and our friends and family gathered to celebrate the end of our short-lived union, praising our decision to stop seeing each other because we knew we didn’t really make each other happy. I didn’t get to make my best friends wear matching heinous dresses to mark the occasion. He and I didn’t venture away to some exotic island together after. Mostly I just deleted him from Snapchat and put him in my phone as “First Name DO NOT TEXT.” The end.
And yet the whole thing was an important life milestone for me. I was growing and realizing that I wanted more out of my relationships. Not only that, I deserved more. This called for some positive attention.
I’m thrilled to celebrate your desire to come together in holy matrimony. I would love nothing more than to shower you before your baby arrives. But I think we should be just as excited for single people too. Because life is full of major moments that include more than just getting married or having a baby. That instant when you suck it up and prove to yourself that you can face an unpleasant task without help? That’s certainly something worth noting. That moment where you begin to seek out healthy, functional relationships? Totally deserving of a party with mini crab cakes and a DJ.